May 04, 2004

Atomic Age Artifacts at Oak Ridge's Historical Instrumentation Museum

There's some artifacts from the Atomic Age at the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Historical Instrumentation Museum (

Many of the items on display (part of the Professional Training Program at Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee (865-576-3576)) show just how far we've come from viewing radation simply as a beneficent modern boon...get your "glow" on with these artifacts from the Radiant Era:

The strange origins of the modern trefoil radiation symbol.

Who says radioactivity can't be fun and games? Atomic Toys! Including the Atomic Energy Lab for youngsters, and a the Con-Cor™ toy nuclear power plant for your scale model train layout - based on Three Mile Island!

The Nu-Klear Fallout Detector™ - no Cold War era family should have gone without this device (which operates on the principle that ionizing radiation will discharge static electricity-charged items), used by "leaving the detector just outside the fallout shelter exit for five minutes. If the beads have not all fallen to the bottom during that time, "you may risk exposure for a few minutes if you are faced with an emergency that cannot wait another day."

Homer Simpson would be proud: there once was a time when "Radium" meant quality...these days, good luck trying to sell 1940's-vintage Radium Condoms™, Radium "Male Pouches," or Radium Beer™.

Get really, really clean...with Radioactive Soap.

To commemorate Madame Curie's glowing discovery, Broadway composer Jean Schwartz wrote "The Radium Dance" for the 1904 smash hit, Piff! Paff! Pouf!

Irradiated Golf Balls may not help your handicap, but they'll get lots of curious looks.

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